Margaret Walker: a Centenary Exhibition

Jubilee

Margaret Walker. Jubilee

Margaret Walker. Jubilee. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966.
First Edition.

The publication of Jubilee was the second milestone in Walker’s literary career. (The manuscript of the book was also her Ph.D. dissertation in English, at the University of Iowa).  The novel follows an African-American woman, Vyry, from slavery through the Civil War and on to freedom.  Jubilee combines extensive historical research and imaginative reconstruction, but the essence of the story is factual:  Vyry is based on Walker’s own great-grandmother, who figured in stories told by the author’s grandmother.  Jubilee is one of the first novels to present nineteenth-century American history from the perspective of a Black woman.  It won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Prize in 1966, and has never been out of print.